American Life in Poetry: Column 142

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

There’s that old business about the tree falling in the middle of the forest with no one to hear it: does it make a noise? Here Linda Gregg, of New York, offers us a look at an elegant beauty that can be presumed to exist and persist without an observer.

Elegance

All that is uncared for.
Left alone in the stillness
in that pure silence married
to the stillness of nature.
A door off its hinges,
shade and shadows in an empty room.
Leaks for light. Raw where
the tin roof rusted through.
The rustle of weeds in their
different kinds of air in the mornings,
year after year.
A pecan tree, and the house
made out of mud bricks. Accurate
and unexpected beauty, rattling
and singing. If not to the sun,
then to nothing and to no one.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Elegance” by Linda Gregg. Copyright 2008 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted from All of It Singing with permission from Graywolf Press. www.graywolfpress.org Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.